Sky’s The Limit
Part V: Party, Power and Prejudice
I saw on the large flat boulder next to Allison, watching as Charlie began an impressive showing of her weaponry skill. I tried not to think too much about how useless I was offensively. Every group needed a healer though, right?
“So, not too intimidated by the team?” Allison asked. I glanced their way and remembered how close we were on this boulder. You’d think the academy would provide larger stones to avoid so much student intimacy. I pushed away the inappropriate thoughts, realising I needed to actually respond or they would think I was weird, or weirder.
“They seem nice,” I replied, still only knowing half of their names, although Allison had pointed out more of them.
“Yeah, they are and other than Allen, they’ve all been pretty chill with me being non-binary. Like I didn’t get bombarded with awkward questions and they’ve respected my pronouns. Got to say, it’s a step up from my previous school,” they explained. I grimaced a bit at the mention of Allen.
“Mine wasn’t great either,” I replied, remembering what things had been like at Klébergsskóli. The school and teachers had been nice enough but no one really understood transgender students before I added in the fact I was non-binary. My town was so small there weren’t that many people my age anyway. I wasn’t bullied per say, but people thought I was weird and avoided me because of it. It didn’t help when my abilities started manifesting. I kept them to myself, not wanting to expose my parents. My papa never used his abilities without permission, but the amount of people willing to see him would drop if they knew in advance he was parahuman.
“Ah, the wonders of public schools,” they sighed. I laughed, I couldn’t help it they had a way about them that was calming. Although I could sense they had some anxieties of their own. Not that I was about to take a wander in their mind to find out what exactly. That would be the worst kind of violation of privacy. My eyes wandered to the buffet and I remembered I’d barely eaten today.
“Are you hungry?” I asked.
“I’m starving,” they said, pushing away from the stone. I followed them and went straight to the food while Allison grabbed a drink.
“What do you think of ham sandwiches?” I asked, putting one on a plate and holding a second empty one uncertainly.
“They’re good, at least as long as my rabbi isn’t watching,” they replied, laughing. I blinked at them, confused. “I’m Jewish,” they explained.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have offered you pork…” I said, biting my lower lip. I’m such an idiot, never assume. Like Mama would say, ‘it’ll make an ass of u and me’.
“It’s okay,” they insisted. “I don’t keep kosher outside of shul.” I blinked again and they stared back a moment. “Temple.”
“Oh,” I said, blushing more. I was going to need to freshen up my Jewish knowledge, which was lacking.
“So yeah, pork’s alright. But those tomato grilled sandwiches are just calling my name,” they said, taking the second plate and piling some on. I shoved down the desire to apology another couple times as we walked back to the boulder.
“I’m agnostic,” I said, shrugging. “My parents are Christians but they’ve never pushed their beliefs on me.”
“Huh, they sound pretty cool then,” Allison replied.
“Yeah,” I replied with a small smile. “Luckily my Papa’s a therapist and my Mama is a nurse, so they were a bit more well equipped to deal with me when I came out as trans two years ago.” Allison stared at me for a moment and I felt my cheeks burn again. “What?”
“You call them Mama and Papa, that’s kinda cute,” they teased. The burning got worse.
“That’s how most icelandic people call their parents,” I huffed.
“Sorry,” they said, although they were fighting a laugh as they spoke. I pouted a bit and looked at the swimming pool, noticing the Itharii swimming. They moved with an almost beautiful ease through the water.
“First time seeing an Itharii?” Allison asked. I nodded.
“In person, yes,” I replied, still a little blushy from moments again. “They’re just so adorable…”
“They are. And Ahti is basically one massive ball of sunshine,” they smiled. As if sensing us, Ahti emerged through the water’s surface and pulled themselves out of the pool. They took a few steps towards us both and looked my way.
“Hello! I’m Ahti,” they said, holding out a cute hand and smiling. I blinked at the small teeth before reaching out and taking the offered hand.
“Well, I’ll be back in a minute. You two play nice,” Allison said, skipping away before I could object. It wasn’t that I couldn’t socialise on my own, but Allison did make me feel more at ease.
“I’m Sage,” I replied, looking back at Ahti. “Have you gotten anything to eat yet?” I asked, motioning to the table. I frowned at how they were watching me. “What?”
“You’re the first person not to comment on not wearing clothes in the pool,” Ahti said.
“Oh. I know that’s a normal thing in the Western world, but in my country it’s pretty common for people to use public pools and hot springs naked. It’s not something that bothers me,” I shrugged.
“Oh, maybe I should go visit,” they mused.
“I don’t think you would enjoy it much,” I laughed. “We are an island but the ocean around us is very cold. The sun is never really at it’s full height like it is here, and we have a lot of snow,” I explained.
“Oh, I’ve never seen snow, what’s it like?” they asked, sounding excited.
“Erm, cold and wet. It melts if you pick it up,” I said, trying not to lose my mind over how cute they were being. “Makes for fun snowball fights,” I added.
“Why are you fighting? That sounds mean,” they asked.
“It’s a game not a fight. You condense a bunch of soft snow into a small ball,” I explained, holding out my fist to demonstrate the size. “And you try to throw them at each other. Avoiding the face obviously. It’s really silly and fun.”
“Oh, can we play it if it snows here?” they sounded so excited, I couldn’t help beaming a smile.
“Sure!” they followed me to the table, frowning at the food on display. “What can you eat?” I asked, learning my lesson after Allison.
“Not landmeat,” they answered. I blinked, trying to work out what I could give them. Allison interrupted then, silently handing Ahti some food they could have.
“Sorry I took so long,” they apologised. I frowned, was it my imagination or were they wearing make-up before and not now? Their eyes also looked a little puffy.
“Are you okay?” I whispered, making sure Ahti was looking elsewhere.
“Yeah.” They said, waving a dismissive hand. “Hey, you haven’t shown anyone your ability yet,” they pointed out, changing the subject. I fidgeted as I tried to think of a way to show my power. Short of someone hurting themselves I was a bit stuck. Maybe if i waited long enough Allen would do something to get himself punched, not that I really fancied healing him if that did happen.
“Oh yeah what is your power?” Ahti asked, having overheard the last part Allison had said.
“Erm,” I hesitated. “Do you give me permission to use it?” I asked Allison, surprising them.
“Sure,” they responded somewhat hesitantly. I bit my lip before gently touching their cheek, feeling the familiar flicker of powers flow through my skin to theirs, making me smile widely. I was right, something had made them sad. I didn’t delve enough to work out what though and dropped my hand. Allisons eyes were wide and I could see them trying to piece it together.
“Did you just-” they cut themselves off, their lips left parted.
“I can do a few odd things,” I laughed nervously. “I mostly try to help people to if they’re feeling low like my Papa. I can also heal some physical injuries like my Mama.”
“Wow, your power is actually useful. Color me jealous,” Allison murmured.
“Not as useful as yours is in a fight,” I replied, holding my hands together in front of me awkwardly. Allison made a dismissive noise in the back of their throat.
“I think everyone has nice powers,” Ahti joined in. I sent them a soft smile. When I glanced back up Allison was staring at me still. “It was okay for me to do that, right? I asked…” I trailed off, worried I had upset them.
“No, no, it was fine,” Allison quickly responded.
“Oh, phew,” I sighed. The party continued for a while after that. Allen started to talk to Ahti but then Jaeger intervened. Good call, the last thing I wanted to see was that meanie making Ahti of all people feel sad. Both Allison and me glanced up again when Ahti raised their voice, revealing Jaeger was in fact a human chimera.
“Woah. I didn’t know those were still made nowadays,” I murmured as Jaeger left the area. Allison started to reply but then Allen used the G slur again. I felt my hands curl into fists, not something that regularly happened.
“Not worth it,” Allison said, gripping my arm. I released a breath, letting out the anger with it. Well most of it. I wasn’t sure how I was going to see him later in our dorm room without saying a few choice insults of my own.